I have never owned a pair of Jordans in my entire life.
But after seeing TIDAL’s new doc Unbanned: The Legend of AJ1 I might just have to cop. Although Michael Jordan, to me, will always be a legend I never felt the need to cop a pair of his iconic kicks.
Yeah, my friends always had a fresh pair and they would always tell stories of how they “came-up” on the latest drop but still the obsession with the Nike basketball shoe never phased me.
Nevertheless, growing up, it was easy to see why everyone was obsessed with the sneaker enterprise. Jordan was and still is a legend, from his presence alone to the way he glided on the court.
Plus, the fact that a Black man had invested into himself and finessed an endorsement from a major sportswear company serves to remain as the blueprint for many of the African-American entrepreneurs that came after him.
But after watching the doc there was something itching inside me, urging me to cop. I never felt this before. Maybe it was the opportunity I had to see his legacy in the physical, in real-time. Because for the private screening of Unbanned: The Legend of AJ1 at SNS Bar in NYC everyone came thru dripped down in their freshest pairs of AJ1s.
It made me kind of jealous to watch the crowd bond over a sneaker. It’s like I didn’t want anyone to look at my roasted red Chucks. And, in a way, I felt embarrassed to not have owned one pair. It made me feel less “cultured.”
While at SNS new thoughts entered my dome piece.
How could I not support a Black businessman? Why did I never own a pair? Why didn’t I ever make the investment into a pair of Jordans or at least the AJ1? Just by looking at the shoe design, anyone could tell that shit was iconic.
It’s like my eyes were opened. I felt like those “washed” blinders were lifted. They kept me from seeing the truth. Also, thankfully the wisdom of the sneaker gods in the doc, like Spike Lee and Joe La Puma I was able to understand, fully, the impact of all Jordan sneakers.
Lowkey, because of Unbanned I now have an understanding of what it took to even make the first Air Jordan sneaker and why every single one after that meant so much to everyone who copped.
The film connected with me just like the AJ1 connected with those that were there for when it first dropped.
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By watching, a new understanding came about and I was able to link all the dots to our culture. That was the point according to film’s writer, director, and producer, Dexton Deboree:
“This film is as much about the culture of hip hop as it is about sneakers or basketball or fashion. So, to have it celebrated on TIDAL with TIDAL’s fans, fans united by their love of these things in the deepest and most authentic way, is extremely rewarding and important to us as filmmakers and is why we made this film in the first place.”
The kick changed the game, man. The AJ1 birthed the sneaker culture, influenced a social and cultural revolution, and changed the layout of a major sport. Hell, it shifted what it means to be a black athlete, today.
Tony Gervino, TIDAL’s SVP of Culture and Content seems to think the same:
“The Air Jordan 1 is an icon that has transcended sports, music, and movies to become a cross-cultural global phenomenon. This is a sneaker that connects generations and is an integral part of the zeitgeist for which TIDAL curates a daily soundtrack. “